Twenty-one AAP MLAs, who have been made parliamentary secretaries and are facing the risk of disqualification from the Assembly on office of profit issue, have sought a personal hearing before the Election Commission.
Sources in the commission today said a decision on the matter will take at least 6 to 8 weeks.
“We have asked for a personal hearing from the Election Commission to make our stand clear. However, no date has been fixed as of now,” AAP’s Kasturba Nagar MLA Madanlal said.
He said this has been conveyed to the commission in the reply filed by the MLAs to the notices issued by the poll panel.
The EC had earlier issued notices to 21 AAP MLAs asking them to explain how their appointment as parliamentary secretaries does not fall under office of profit.
The EC has sought the response of the legislators as to why their Assembly membership should not be cancelled. The notices had been given by the commission on a complaint filed by a lawyer.
In their response to the poll body, the MLAs have said that parliamentary secretary is a “post” without any remuneration or power.
A senior party functionary maintained that there was no “pecuniary benefit” associated with the post.
AAP had appointed 21 parliamentary secretaries to assist the Delhi government ministers. Thereafter, the government sought an amendment to the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997.
Through the Bill, which has been forwarded to the Centre by Lt Governor Najeeb Jung, AAP wants “retrospective” exemption for the parliamentary secretaries from disqualification provisions.
Questions have been raised over their appointment by the opposition.
The Lt Governor has said that the office of parliamentary secretary is defined as an “office of profit if one looks at the statutes of Delhi” and that as per the GNCT Act, the city can have only one parliamentary secretary attached to the office of the Chief Minister.
The 21 MLAs include Alka Lamba, Jarnail Singh, Adarsh Shastri and Rajesh Gupta.